Pharmaceutical Distribution Project (2009)

UMCOR health activities

Pharmaceutical Distribution Program
The distribution of pharmaceuticals is UMCOR's longest-running project in Armenia. Since 1994, UMCOR has provided hundreds of clinics throughout the country with essential medicines and medical supplies. These clinics prescribe UMCOR medicines free-of-charge to vulnerable populations. UMCOR is renowned for this type of intervention. Annually, over 115 health posts, clinics, orphanages and schools receive medicines and medical supplies.

The project is supported by the U.S. Department of State and closely coordinated with policy makers and regulators at Armenia's Ministry of Health. The medicines and supplies are received as donations from private institutions such as Interchurch Medical Assistance, Project Hope, Heart To Heart International, and AmeriCares.

Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB
Since 2003, with the financial support of the Norwegian Church Aid, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as United Methodist Church Global AIDS Fund, UMCOR has been implementing the “Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB” project. The goal of the project is to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB in rural communities by increasing access to health information and services.

In the framework of the project, the following activities are implemented:

  1. Trainings of local primary health care (PHC) providers on Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) for HIV, STI management, TB case detection and follow-up of TB patients' treatment;
  2. Free-of-charge services (VCT, STI and TB management) provided in target rural communities by the Mobile Medical Team (comprised of three doctors: STI, TB and laboratory specialists);
  3. Public health education activities including peer education of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) on HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB prevention, as well as development and distribution of informational materials;
  4. Distribution of condoms to persons at risk.

Over 2,000 Community Health Volunteers have been trained in to provide peer education on HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB prevention.

UMCOR works collaboratively with the Armenian Ministry of Health, the National Center for AIDS Prevention, the National Tuberculosis Program, local government officials, community-based healthcare providers, and other NGOs to implement the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB program.

In addition, UMCOR Armenia actively participates in HIV/TB advocacy activities by organizing events for the AIDS Candlelight Day (May 2Ist), World AIDS Day (December 1), World TB Day (March 24th), and the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Global Fund and UNAIDS
In April 2005, UMCOR became a member of the Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, as well as the UNAIDS Technical Working Group. These memberships allow UMCOR to be at the forefront of coordination on HIV/AIDS and TB related activities in Armenia. In collaboration with the Armenian National Center for AIDS Prevention (NCAP) and other partners, UMCOR participated in the implementation of "The Second Generation HIV Surveillance in the Republic of Armenia, 2005."

Strengthening Public Health in Armenia
In August 2003, UMCOR signed an agreement with the U.S Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for the project, “Strengthening Public Health in Armenia.” UMCOR trained Armenian leaders and public health professionals in practical approaches to public health education. Eight individuals, including two UMCOR employees, received training in the U.S. In the framework of the project, UMCOR developed educational brochures and flyers containing public health related information. Among the issues addressed were TB and HIV/AIDS.

Social Transition Program
UMCOR provided health services through its Mobile Medical Teams as part of the USAID-funded Social Transition Program (STP). The first MMT began operating in Gegharkunik Marz in March of 2001. The team consisted of four doctors: a therapist, a pediatrician, a gynecologist and a laboratory specialist. The MMT provided health services to eleven communities in Gegharkunik Marz. The range of health services included medical consultations/counseling, provision of prescribed pharmaceuticals, and laboratory analysis. A second MMT started similar operations in thirteen communities of Lori Marz in January 2003. Within the framework of the STP, UMCOR also implemented a Community Health Care Workers (CHCW) Training Project. In total, 96 CHCWs in eight communities received training on various health topics including topics related to HIV/AIDS and the prevention of STIs and TB.

Dprabak is a remote riverside village situated in the wooded mountains, in one of the most beautiful corners of Armenia.  Visiting this small paradise one can feel a real pacification and a total coalescence with nature. But even living in such kind of paradisic places people may face different type of health problems and, therefore, need health care providers' professional assistance.

Dprabak Ambulatory Clinic serving communities of five neighboring villages (Dprabak, Aygut, Antaramej, Dzoravanq and Kalavan) is situated high on the sunlit hill, almost on the skirts of the village. Dr. Siranush Balyan smilingly said that she could notice her patients hurrying toward the Clinic from afar. ”During all the year the flow of patients does not run low.  Every season brings its peculiar type of health problems - colds and respiratory infection, rheumatism and trauma, hypertension and heart attacks, hay fevers and sting allergy... And it would be very difficult to handle all above-mentioned cases without UMCOR’s medicines that we have been receiving for more than ten years in the framework of Pharmaceutical Distribution Project,” she said.

“Each pharmaceutical UMCOR provides us with finds its use. For example, at late spring and summer, the periods of blossoming, we have many cases of hay fever and bee stings. Chlorpheniramine we receive from UMCOR is an excellent cure for an inhalant as well as sting allergies. Several tablets of this antihistaminic are enough to reduce symptoms of sneezing, itching, watery eyes, runny nose and hives”, dr. Balyan explained. “Provided by UMCOR the wide range of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin, Motrin, Diclofenac helps us to organize an adequate treatment of rheumatic diseases that are very common among the population of our villages,” she continued. “And after all, using very effective medications such as Losartan and Lisinopril, we can maintain the health of our patients with hypetonia and keep them from hypertension strokes,” she added.

“Another pleasing factor is a high quality of UMCOR’s medicines. All the pharmaceuticals we have been receiving during years of collaboration with UMCOR were very effective and never caused any side actions. UMCOR’s contribution cannot be overestimated and is very important and significant for our communities,” dr. Balyan concluded.